Lamivudine is also known as Epvir. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, the patent for Epvir is due to expire on May 18, 2016. Lamivudine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B (HBV) virus cells from multiplying in the body. This medication will treat HIV and HBV, but it is not a cure for either disease. Typically used in combination with other medications, lamivudine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Typical side effects of lamivudine are a headache, tired feeling, a runny or stuffy nose and mild diarrhea.
The dose of lamivudine for HIV is either one 300 mg tablet taken once a day, or one 150 mg tablet taken twice daily, with or without food. One major benefit of lamivudine is that the drug resistance the virus develops against this drug, the M184V mutation, makes the virus less fit to replicate. Lamivudine has also demonstrated its ability to keep T-cells from dropping as much as usual during a treatment interruption. Additionally, this mutation also slightly improves the antiviral activity of Retrovir and Viread. This leads many physicians to continue treating their patients with lamivudine in combination with these drugs after M184V resistance develops.
Lamivudine is also approved for the treatment of hepatitis B virus, as well as for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection. The dose normally used to treat hepatitis B is one 100mg tablet once a day. However, if patients have both HIV and chronic hepatitis B, the dose prescribed should be the amount used to treat HIV, which is high enough to help treat both infections. The hepatitis B virus does not become resistant to lamivudine as quickly as it does to the HIV virus. Therefore, even if a patient is experiencing HIV resistance to lamivudine, it might still be prudent to continue administering this medication if you are also trying to treat hepatitis B.
“we now have a scientific foundation to even consider the feasibility of an “AIDS-free generation.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated at the 2012 AIDS meeting that we now have a scientific foundation to even consider the feasibility of an “AIDS-free generation.” He also stated, “We have a stunning amount of advances in the area of basic and clinical research.”
Research, development and education about the HIV virus have been successful. For example, a JAMA study recently reported that progress in the treatment of the HIV virus has been made in the last decade. This survey of 32,483 HIV patients who received antiretroviral therapy in 12 clinics around the country reported that 72% of these patients had low levels of the virus in 2010, compared to 45% of patients surveyed who had low levels of the HIV virus in 2001. While there are many factors that contribute to this encouraging news, there is still much work to be done.
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